Information Management at the Konza Prairie

The goal of the Konza LTER (KNZ) Information Management System (IMS) is to facilitate research and scientific discovery at the KNZ LTER site and beyond by storing, curating, and delivering high quality data and metadata. The KNZ IMS includes people, hardware, and software to store, manage and deliver scientific information that will facilitate interdisciplinary research and scientific discovery. Specific KNZ IMS goals are to:

  1. Assure the accuracy, integrity and long-term security of all KNZ data;
  2. Ensure that KNZ data and metadata adhere to LTER standards, to enhance data accessibility and usability for current and future generations of scientists and students;
  3. Facilitate efficient data discovery and ready access to data and metadata to support local, network, and other research and education activities;
  4. Proactively communicate with researchers and students in the research design phase, so that they understand and follow information management best practices 

As one of the initial LTER sites, KNZ has a long history of development, leadership and participation in ecological information management. In the early 1980's, the KNZ information manager (IM) and support staff developed and implemented a base-level research data management plan to allow researchers to archive, locate, interpret and use KNZ data. The original KNZ IMS plan was designed using guidelines established by Gorentz et al. (1983) and documented by Gurtz (1986). The development of the original KNZ IMS has been summarized by Briggs and Su (1994) and Briggs (1998). John Briggs served as KNZ IM from 1984-1998 and continues to consult on KNZ IMS issues while serving as Director of Konza Prairie Biological Station. Over time, the KNZ IMS has evolved from a site-based system serving primarily local researchers, to providing LTER data and related information to a much broader and more diverse clientele, including KNZ investigators from numerous universities, researchers at other LTER sites, the broader scientific community, and others. One important metric of success of the KNZ IMS is the large and growing number of publications, by KNZ scientists and by others outside the KNZ program, that use KNZ data.

Availability of Datasets:  KNZ data sets are archived and made available via both the KNZ LTER web site and the LTER Network Data Portal.  We ask only that the LTER project and the principal investigator responsible for the data set be informed and that NSF and the KNZ LTER be acknowledged in any publications using KNZ data.  To facilitate citation, digital object identifiers (DOI) are provided for each data set.

Submitting Data:  Data may be submitted by undergraduate and graduate students, as well as more senior scientists. Data can be submitted by contacting the KNZ IM directly or emailing at knzlter@ksu.edu. Instructions for submission of data is included on the KNZ web page. The IM works directly with investigators to create new datasets, as needed, and to ensure that those datasets include documentation and metadata to meet KNZ and LTER Network standards. A sample Excel form and Word document templates and instructions are available for submitting both metadata and data. Comments are used extensively throughout the Excel sheet to aid in creating new datasets. Once a file is submitted a basic check is made to ensure that the metadata and data conform to the LTER standards.  

Data Use and Access Policy: KNZ’s data use and access policy is consistent with the policy for the LTER Network. With few exceptions, data are downloadable from the KNZ website and the LTER Network Data Portal within two years of the data collection. Metadata are highly detailed to facilitate data reuse long after the data were originally archived. Metadata are also encoded as EML (Ecological Metadata Language) and harvested to the LTER Network Data Portal.